Glencoe native Brett Zaslavsky is headed to the University of Michigan this fall, but he took a detour to Jerusalem earlier this summer for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, thanks to his involvement with the American Jewish Committee's Leaders for Tomorrow program (that's him on the Prime Minister's right!). The discussion left a lasting impact on the incoming college student, who takes seriously his role of defending and supporting Israel on campus. Brett's spending part of his summer in Ann Arbor but he took a few moments to answer Am Shalom's Q&A.
1. How do you like to spend your time?
I’m a big TV guy—The West Wing and The Office have got to be my two favorites, so I’ve spent a lot of time watching and rewatching those shows. I’m also a huge fan of watching the news and reading biographies - George Stephanopoulos' All Too Human and Senator Al Franken's Giant of the Senate have got to be my two favorites.
2. What is the best advice you ever received?
There’s a poem called the Desiderata that is, hands down, the most incredible advice I’ve ever read. Look it up — you won’t regret it. It’s a little lengthy (so heads up), but it talks about compassion for people, the importance of hard work and the value of confidence. I think it’s pretty awesome.
3. What is your favorite memory of religious school at Am Shalom?
The Purim Carnival was always a highlight, of course. Who doesn't love the Purim Carnival?
4. Got any advice for today’s religious school students?
Ask questions! Religious school is a unique opportunity to challenge your beliefs, understand the principles of Judaism, and meet people you otherwise probably wouldn't. I know I wish I took advantage of it more, so if it's not too late – go for it. Also, if the opportunity arises to get confirmed - do it! I know I was initially only in it because my parents wanted me to do it, but I'm so glad I did. The discussions were fascinating and engaging, and I learned a lot about Judaism on a more sophisticated level.
5. What is your favorite Jewish thing to do?
Breaking the fast every year, no question. Quick shoutout to my mom - best sweet potato casserole in the state. I'll defend that any day.